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A rolling look at the day's news with Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin Mon, Apr 7
 
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  • 09:26

    Good morning. It's Monday, April 7th, and our main stories today are:

    Commission to examine lead-up to Callinan resignation.


    Support for same-sex marriage is increasing, according to a poll.


    And a jusge has warned of "alarm bells" ringing over vacancies on the new appeals court.

  • 09:36

    The Government is set to ask the Commission of Inquiry into the Garda taping affair to examine the events surrounding the resignation of former commissioner Martin Callinan two weeks ago.

    Support for same-sex marriage has increased over the past 18 months as debate on the issue has intensified, according to the latest  Irish Times /  Ipsos MRBI poll.

    The president of the High Court has said he is “gravely apprehensive” that the proper administration of justice could suffer if the 10 vacancies on the new Court of Appeal are filled by High Court judges.

  • 09:42

    Elsewhere today voting has started in the world's biggest election. Some 815 million people are registered to vote in the Indian election which will take place over the next five weeks.

    Voting spreads out in stages from two small states near Myanmar to include northern Himalayan plateaus, western deserts and the tropical south, before ending in the densely-populated northern plains.

    Results are due on May 16th.

    The photo above shows  Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Rani Narah giving a 'V' sign after casting her vote at Boginadi polling station in Lakhimpur district of Assam state.

  • 09:50
    In Dublin this morning a female pedestrian has been killed following an incident in which a car and a Luas tram collided at the junction of Abbey Street and Jervis Street.
  • 10:06

    President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabine will begins the Irish state visit to the United Kingdom today. The pair will be greeted on their arrival in Heathrow airport by Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall and the Viscount Hoof, lord-in-waiting to the Queen. The main events will take place later in the week.

    You can keep up to date with our coverage of the state visit here.

  • 10:19

    The volume levels during the speeches revealed a pecking order: pin-drop silence for Brendan Gleeson, Michael Fassbender and President Michael D Higgins, a low background hum for Colin Farrell, Steve Coogan, Jamie Dornan, Jeremy Irons and Fionnula Flanagan and full-on chatter drowning out everyone else, including Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

    What's Bernice Harrison talking about?

    Why, the IFTAs, of course: an embarrassing, "badly produced shambles".

  • 10:43

    But she's not the only one. There's an obvious consensus on the weekend awards show among the tabloids today, the Herald and the Sun in particular.

    "And the award for worst ceremony goes to..IFTAs," says the latter, while the Herald announces "the award for worst RTÉ show goes to... the IFTAs".

    "A Laura rubbish" was the judgement of the Star, in reference to co-host Laura Whitmore, and the Mirror called it "an IFTA disaster show".

  • 11:06
  • 11:20

    South African track star Oscar Pistorius has begun giving evidence in his own defence in the trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine‘s Day last year.

    Earlier today he wept and retched into a bucket in court during graphic forensic testimony.

  • 11:36

    The United Nations is today holding a day of remembrance for the victims of the Rwandan genocide which began 20 years ago.

    Deirdre O'Shaughnessy writes:  The country’s president, Paul Kagame, has just completed a European tour, including a visit to Áras an Uachtaráin last week. While in Ireland he donated €50,000 to help build a robot for Cork teenager Joanne O’Riordan.

    When Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) ended the genocide by invading Rwanda in July 1994, it was the beginning of a new era. He was only two years old when his parents left Rwanda, and many in the diaspora had never set foot there before 1994.

    Read more

  • 11:45
    Labour is set to press for the Government to hand the power to appoint the Garda Commissioner and other senior officer to the new Garda authority, writes Arthur Beesley.
  • 11:54
    Gavin Sheridan (@gavinsblog)  is live tweeting this from the Supreme Court.
  • 12:18
    To Europe now where the ECB has  said Ireland’s accord to push out the cost of rescuing the former Anglo Irish Bank “raises serious financing concerns.”
  • 12:35
    The BBC is reporting that pro-Russian rebels who seized government buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have proclaimed independence and demanded a referendum.
  • 12:53
  • 13:17

    What was the common name for phytophthora infestans? This disease was a major cause of the potato crop crisis in Ireland in 1845.


    If you answered 'spudphobia', you would be wrong. Try out some more questions from the  All-Ireland Credit Union Schools’ Quiz.

  • 13:36

    Pro-Russia activists occupying regional offices in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, today proclaimed the creation of a separatist Donetsk republic, a Reuters witness said.

    One of the leaders of about 100 activists who moved into the building on Sunday night called for a referendum to be held no later than May 11th on the establishment of the “Donetsk people’s republic”.

  • 13:55

    Una Mulally lays out the argument here for why drug users should be decriminalised.

    A couple of days before St Patrick’s Day I took a short cut up though a laneway in Temple Bar. Beyond the network of laneways that leads to the quays the area was thronged with tourists revelling in what has become a spring break for the booze-hungry. Two men lost in conversation were walking down the laneway. One, unsteady on his feet, bashed into me. When he pulled away I saw he was holding a syringe... Read more.

  • 14:26
  • 14:50

    The terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry into the Garda taping controversy will be agreed by the Cabinet in conjunction with the Attorney General and Mr Justice Niall Fennelly, Joan Burton said today.

    The Minister for Social Protection said she expected the Cabinet to get more details tomorrow about the terms of reference for Mr Justice Fennelly’s commission of inquiry into the events which led to the retirement of former Garda commissioner, Martin Callinan.

    Read more...



  • 15:05

    So, how is the press in the UK and elsewhere previewing this week's state visit?

    Well:

    The foreign previews of President Michael D Higgins’s state visit to the UK, which officially starts tomorrow, have largely focused on the now-positive relationship between Ireland and Britain. However, underlying tensions in the North as well as possible issues around the European Union and Scottish independence have also featured in the commentary.

    The Times today framed its coverage around comments by former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain, who said a de facto amnesty should be offered to those responsible for violence during the Troubles. “Irish terrorist murders ‘should be left unsolved’,” read the paper’s front page headline. It maintained that tone inside where it devoted two pages to the visit under the banner: “Historic banquet at Windsor, but in Belfast there still a bitter taste.”

    The Daily Telegraph limited its coverage to six paragraphs at the bottom of page eight which focused on the North’s Deputy First Minister “and former IRA commander” Martin McGuinness’s acceptance of an invitation to the Windsor Castle banquet: “Confirming his attendance, which would have been unthinkable a decade ago, Mr McGuinness said the queen was a ‘staunch supporter’ of the peace process.” The Guardian, similarly, concentrated on McGuinness’s role in the visit.

    Vincent Boland, meanwhile, writing in the Financial Times over the weekend contrasted this week’s visit to that of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland in 2011. “It is,” he wrote, “a testament to the rapprochement in Anglo-Irish relations since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 that, historic as Mr Higgins’ visit is, the stakes involved in such a high-profile event are much smaller than in 2011.” But he added that issues of political paralysis in Northern Ireland as well as the possible reverberations there of a ‘Yes’ vote in the Scottish independence referendum will “loom in the background”.

    In its preview, the BBC said one of the lighter moments of the visit could take place at Windsor Castle on Wednesday morning when Domhnall the wolfhound, regimental mascot of the Irish Guards, will be presented with a new dog coat.

    Across the Atlantic, the New York Times, in an 850-word preview, placed the visit in the context of a possible UK exit from the European Union. “Once tainted by the legacy of colonialism, Anglo-Irish ties are now so close that Dublin worries about Britain’s drift from the European Union,” wrote Stephen Castle.

    The Tories have promised an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the Union if they win re-election in 2015. And although such an exit seems about as unlikely a prospect as Scottish independence, Castle says Irish politicians still fear the consequences of “their closest trading partner” quitting the bloc.

    In the Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, Paul Hannon said President Higgins’s itinerary, which includes a visit to view the colours of Irish regiments of the British army, is designed to underscore Ireland’s “evolving acceptance” that “its people weren’t always unwilling participants in the UK and the global empire it led”.

  • 15:24
  • 15:25
    And I'm off to grab a late lunch, back shortly.
  • 16:25
    Several figures of Charlemagne stand on square Katschof in Aachen, Germany, today. In total 500 figures will be exhibited in the square until 12 April as part of the celebrations of the Charlemagne Year 2014. Charles the Great was a Roman Empero
    Several figures of Charlemagne stand on square Katschof in Aachen, Germany, today. In total 500 figures will be exhibited in the square until 12 April as part of the celebrations of the Charlemagne Year 2014. Charles the Great was a Roman Empero
  • 16:35

    In a seeminly bizarre exchange on Newstalk this morning, the broadcaster and environmentalist Duncan Stewart threatened to walk out of an interview, while simultaneously demanding to be given time to make his case on climate change.

    In a fraught encounter with Newstalk radio’s Shane Coleman, Stewart became increasingly strident and seemingly emotional as he talked about climate change and, as he saw it, the media’s refusal to engage with the subject, during an interview on Newstalk Breakfast.

  • 16:50
  • 17:00
  • 17:03
    And with that we'll sign off for today. But we'll be back tomorrow with every breath, move and step of President Michael D Higgins's state visit to the United Kingdom. Until then, good evening.